The Jan. 6 panel believes former Secret Service agent Tony Ornato was responsible for trying to discredit Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, CNN reported

Members of the Secret Service, including Tony Ornato, right, stand guard as then-President Donald Trump, left, speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington before departing, September 9, 2019.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger accused former Secret Service agent Tony Ornato of trying to smear Cassidy Hutchinson.

  • The Republican told CNN this week that members of the Jan. 6 panel believe Ornato led the charge.

  • Ornato retired in August — two months after appearing as a key figure in Hutchinson’s testimony.

Members of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot believe former Secret Service agent Tony Ornato was personally involved in efforts to discredit former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, CNN reports.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republican members of Congress on the committee, told the newspaper this week that committee officials believe Ornato led the charge in contradicting parts of Hutchinson’s public testimony earlier this year while he was still in the service and in addition, unnamed agents subsequently supported his claims.

The longtime Secret Service agent who managed former President Donald Trump’s security detail left the agency last month, saying in a statement that he was retiring to pursue a career in the private sector.

Ornato appeared as a key figure in Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony before the committee in June.

Hutchinson testified that Ornato told her that Trump had tried to grab the wheel of the vehicle he was traveling in and crashed into a Secret Service agent while demanding a ride to the Capitol during the chaos on January 6, 2021, as he said. I am the acting president!”.

In the wake of Hutchinson’s testimony, anonymous sources began rejecting her version of events in the press. Several media outlets reported that Secret Service agents were willing to testify that Trump did not try to fly them over or take control of the vehicle on Jan. 6 — though none did so publicly.

Now, Kinzinger accuses Ornato of being one of the unnamed culprits behind the backlash.

“I just think it’s so important to keep in mind that through referrals, anonymous sources, who we believe are actually Tony Ornato himself, he contradicted Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony and said, it’s just not true and Tony is going to testify under oath . And then, of course, he didn’t come in to testify under oath,” the Republican told CNN.

Ornato’s attorney, Kate Driscoll, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but told CNN that her client intends to “continue to cooperate with investigations related to the events of January 6.”

In response to the backlash against Hutchinson’s initial testimony, Rep. Liz Cheney, who is the top Republican on the Jan. 6 panel, threw her full support behind Hutchinson, and a D.C. police officer later backed up her claims, testifying that Trump had a “heated exchange” with his security team after they refused to take him to the Capitol amid the riot.

CNN reported this week that investigators also learned new information about a series of deleted Secret Service test messages about the Capitol attack, citing unnamed sources who said it was unclear whether the texts could be recovered.

A Secret Service spokesperson pointed Insider to the agency’s June 30 statement in response to Hutchinson’s testimony:

“As we have done in the past, the United States Secret Service will make available for sworn testimony individuals with first-hand knowledge of the conversations and interactions reported by the Commission. We await the opportunity to do so.”

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